Posted by: Richard Frost | May 26, 2012

Mull Historical Society and Chew Lips play Chorlton

St Clement's Church hosts gigs for Chorlton Arts FestivalOne of the best things about Chorlton Arts Festival is how it makes us see familiar places in a completely new light.

For a short time only, Oddbins becomes an art gallery, the Beech Inn hosts an awards ceremony and some bloke’s back garden becomes a sculpture park. St Clement’s Church on Edge Lane is no exception. Many people will have been to one-off events at St Clement’s Church – after all, it’s the home of Chorlton’s Big Green Festival and Chorlton Beer Festival. But this year, it’s staging no fewer than four gigs in four days as part of Chorlton Arts Festival’s mini music festival, the Chorlton Weekender.

Mull Historical Society

The second day of this musical marathon featured Mull Historical Society and Chew Lips.

Now to my mind Mull Historical Society, aka Colin MacIntyre, is actually the bigger name of the two – he’s been releasing guitar-based indie records for over a decade and famously collaborated with Tony Benn. However, he was first on tonight (Colin MacIntyre, not Tony Benn), albeit with a 10-song set that’s much longer than your average warm-up.

Colin MacIntyre is also known as Mull Historical Society

Nevertheless, he seemed genuinely happy to be part of Chorlton Arts Festival and dropped in plenty of crowd-pleasing references to Chorlton throughout. For me, the set highlight was a full-blooded version of Public Service Announcer about his time in a dead-end job, which he dedicated to ‘my manager Bill who was straight out of 1984…and the people of Chorlton’. Yes, it struck me as a bit odd too.

He also put his all into old indie favourites Watching Xanadu and The Final Arrears (minus the Shipping Forecast), and catchy new song The Lights. He’ll be touring Manchester in the summer, playing all four Mull Historical Society albums, and on this evidence it’ll be worth watching.

St Clement's Church gig by Mull Historical Society

Chew Lips

After a short break, Chew Lips hit the stage. I’ll admit I didn’t know much about this dance-pop group beforehand, but the way St Clement’s Church quickly filled with fans suggested I was in the minority. They got their break on French dance label Kitsune Records (a fantastic label, by the way) and their electro-tinged tracks certainly got people moving.

The best thing about Chew Lips is the vocals of their singer Tigs. When they get it right, on tracks like Solo and Salt Air, they’re up there with Goldfrapp and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. But a lot of their tunes seem to merge into one another, and I would’ve liked to hear them push themselves with different tempos and rhythms.

Tigs is the singer of Chew Lips

They did produce an inspired moment between songs though. When a member of the crowd yelled out ‘Jesus is watching’, Tigs hit back with ‘That could be quite insulting to some people’ before raising her eyes to the heavens and asking ‘Are you there?’

It was the perfect reminder that St Clement’s Church is not your average gig venue – and it’s all the better for it.

My rating: 7.10

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